Rheumatoid lung disease is a group of lung problems related to rheumatoid arthritis. The condition can include:
Lung disease - rheumatoid arthritis; Rheumatoid nodules; Rheumatoid lung
Lung problems are common in rheumatoid arthritis. They often cause no symptoms.
The cause of lung disease associated with rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. Sometimes, the medicines used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, especially methotrexate, may result in lung disease.
Symptoms may include any of the following:
Many people with this condition have no symptoms. Treatment is aimed at the health problems causing the lung problem and the complications caused by the disorder. Corticosteroids or other medicines that suppress the immune system are sometimes useful.
Outcome is related to the underlying disorder and the type and severity of lung disease. In severe cases, lung transplantation can be considered. This is more common in cases of bronchiolitis obliterans, pulmonary fibrosis, or pulmonary hypertension.
Rheumatoid lung disease may lead to:
Call your provider right away if you have rheumatoid arthritis and you develop unexplained breathing difficulties.
Corte TJ, Du Bois RM, Wells AU. Connective tissue diseases. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 65.
Yunt ZX, Solomon JJ. Lung disease in rheumatoid arthritis. Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2015;41(2):225–236. PMID: PMC4415514 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4415514.